Red. Yellow. Blue. Green. Purple. Orange.
Deciding on the color was the hardest part.
That's why I would always dye my Easter eggs multicolor. My dad, however, while admiring his daughter's fanciful streak, would dye his Easter eggs the way he lived his life—methodically, reverently, one color at a time.
Our family's tradition of Easter egg dyeing was faithfully upheld each year on the night before the holiday. As our creations were spread across the kitchen table over last week's newspapers, my mom would take out her camera and snap the annual photo of my dad, brother, and me with our masterpieces in hand. Every detail of the moment was special, from the white wax crayons to the lingering aroma of the dye—but most important, it was time spent with my dad.
My dad was my hero: writer, scholar, devoted spiritual thinker—everything I wanted to be.
When he passed on during my last year of middle school, I felt our time together hadn't been enough.
My dad was my hero: writer, scholar, devoted spiritual thinker—everything I wanted to be. I knew he loved our family unconditionally and treated everyone with the same utmost respect. I was devastated by his passing, but I had to handle more than just grief.
Eventually, it was clear that my need was to heal a sense of anger I was harboring. I was angry that my compassionate, generous father had died suddenly at what I thought was a young age. I was also angry that I didn't know him as well as I'd wanted to, and I hated that life appeared so fragile. As easy as it seemed to adopt this new cynicism, I knew that just coping would never bring true healing.
Through prayer and humble communion with God, I saw that the root of my anger was fear. What terrified me the most about this experience was actually not the shock or change in family life, but my uncertainty about where my dad was now.
I continually looked in Science and Health for answers. In it, this quote by Mary Baker Eddy reflected what I was beginning to understand: "In infinite Life and Love there is no sickness, sin, nor death, and the Scriptures declare that we live, move, and have our being in the infinite God" (p. 381). This reminded me that our lives went on; our God-given immortality was Bible-based, something Jesus actually proved.
I thought about the Easter season and what my study of Christian Science had taught me. Easter was an opportunity to rejoice in Jesus' resurrection and ascension instead of feeling discouraged by his crucifixion. He fulfilled prophecy and proved for us the reality of God, divine Life, over death. As the Son of God, he proved the immortality of man, and the Christ—the "divine message from God to men" (Science and Health, p. 332)—continues to be with us to this day.
It became clearer to me that God—omnipresent Life—is already perfect. And that His children progress in constantly climbing to a better understanding of our spiritual perfection. Something Mrs. Eddy wrote relates to this concept: "Progress is spiritual. Progress is the maturing conception of divine Love; ..." (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 181). Comfort came when I saw that by reflecting an eternal God without beginning or end, we exist as His pure and glorious ideas forever.
The idea that there are two inevitable bookends to a human life—birth and death—contradicts the truth that Life is eternal. The more we strive to understand divine Science, the orderly way in which God's universe works, the less the limitations that come along with birth and death will affect us.
I saw how the Christ-idea wasn't impeded by physical limits, as shown multiple times in the Bible. To me, one of the most significant instances of this was when the massive stone, which blocked the entrance to the sepulcher where the body of Jesus was held, actually rolled away. I saw this stone represented matter's attempt to end the progress of a spiritual idea. But after three days, this heavy stone was removed from the tomb through spiritual might, and Jesus came forward. The Christ-idea was divinely unstoppable, and Jesus proved this. He went on to assure his disciples of the legitimacy of the gospel message before he ascended.
This inspiration was so precious to me. I loved life so much that I wanted my dad to be experiencing life as well. Now I understood that my dad was experiencing life! As an eternal idea of God, my dad was still progressing himself, as I was. And as a "compound" idea of God—"including all right ideas" (Science and Health, p. 475)—he was still able to pray, love, and express spiritual qualities. Just as I wouldn't worry about a friend in a different state, I could trust that God was taking care of my dad's peaceful progress. I knew that the identity of my dad was intact. I love being reminded of this triumphant message in an Easter hymn:
Lo, the promise and fulfillment,
Lo, the man whom God hath made,
Seen in glory of an Easter
Crowned with light that cannot fade.
(Frances Thompson Hill, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 171)
Our family still dyes Easter eggs every year in celebrating the season, but now I enjoy Easter on an even deeper level. This revelation about the continuity of my dad's life did not take hold overnight, but I continue to glean new inspiration and am so grateful for my present understanding of infinite Life and eternal progress.
This article also appears on spirituality.com under the title "Easter and the promise of progress."
Sarah Matusek is a sophomore at Bennington College in Vermont studying theater and dance.
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